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It’s better to light a candle than to curse the birthers

HabitatRoofI didn’t go out intentionally to commemorate the 9/11 tragedy today, beyond titling the Open Thread, but if I had, I don’t think that I could have made a better choice than what I actually spent the day doing, helping to put shingles on a roof with Habitat for Humanity.

I was first motivated to look into Habitat through the influence of someone I greatly respect, former president Jimmy Carter. Now that I’m retired, I have more opportunities to get out and work on the houses, not just on Saturdays.

Besides getting involved in community service projects with Habitat, Civitan International and my church, I have also come to a greater appreciation for the importance of local government. To be honest, I’ve pretty much been involved in politics only every 4 years during the presidential race. The shenanigans  in my local town government, a scandal that just keeps on giving, have made it clear that local government won’t just work itself out if left alone.

So I think that the best way to remember and honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 is to serve our own communities in their place.


Note: The original title of the article was “It’s better to light a candle than to curse Obama,” a title directed at birthers. Then the title became “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the Republicans.” That second one is probably the one I would address to myself. But, this is a blog largely about birthers, so I put them in the title instead.

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8 Responses to It’s better to light a candle than to curse the birthers

  1. avatar
    alg September 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Thank you…thank you for your service. Doing a little shingling for Habitat for Humanity is a perfect way to honor those we lost some 13 years ago. Devoting your sweat and time to helping to make things better for others overcomes and overwhelms the divisiveness the pervade our community politics. Working side-by-side with those you might disagree with only helps to bridge your relationships beyond those disagreements.

    My day job and work weeks are filled with local politics. It’s what I do for a living. But, I find when I can serve others by volunteering to do good works all that stuff becomes less important, I regain my equilibrium and find peace and contentment. 🙂

  2. avatar
    bovril September 12, 2014 at 1:35 am #

    I was simply glad that yesterday at work it was a particularly manic day, then the trains were all screwed up on the home……Helped keep my mind off 9/ 11, some days and sometimes I swear I can still smell the dust, metal and corruption

  3. avatar
    Keith September 12, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    Interesting coincidence.

    September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.

    Folks are encouraged to “light a candle near a window at 8pm to show your support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and for the survivors of suicide.”

    International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)

  4. avatar
    Keith September 12, 2014 at 2:13 am #

    By the way, I want to second alg’s thank you, Kevin.

    Your mentions of HFH encouraged me to find out what they do in Australia. In Victoria they don’t really do volunteer builds like you were involved in, they do loans and buy supplies for folks that are asked to put sweat equity into their new home. I suppose local communities might organize ‘roof raising’ events, but I haven’t noticed any.

    What they mostly do in Australia is organize builds in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and India. Volunteers apply for specific build jobs and if accepted, pay all their own costs, some but not all of which can be ‘fund raised’. The actual build seems to be about 4 to 5 days out of a 2 week trip. I am thinking about applying for a Cambodia build next year, but I am getting a bit old for what might be a young man’s game.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 12, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    I’m 64 and I am one of the younger volunteers on this build. 😉

    Keith: I am thinking about applying for a Cambodia build next year, but I am getting a bit old for what might be a young man’s game.

  6. avatar
    Keith September 12, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I’m 64 and I am one of the younger volunteers on this build.

    I’m a year younger, but if the build was in my state, I wouldn’t hesitate.

    The build I would volunteer for would be in Cambodia or Viet Nam or what ever. My back is getting consistently wonky and I’ve got a Birmingham resurfacing in my left hip.

    While I have zero problems getting around and doing relatively hard work, I do get tired quicker and take longer to recover than I used to. The hip makes me much more cautious when climbing around on roofs because the muscles in the backside used for fine tuning balance aren’t quite as strong as they were before the op. I used to jump around like a monkey with no problems – I used to do rock scrambling races up mountain river beds – alas no longer.

    If I get into trouble in a remote village in Cambodia, I will regret it much more than if I was working on one of your builds. I halfway expect they would turn me down anyway.

    I am considering whether or not to finance my nephew. He’s 25 and a genuine hippie; it would be right up his alley.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 14, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    I am somewhat hesitant about going to some distant country to build a house. It would seem to me that this is an inefficient process, with the cost of travel a particular waste. The local economy would be helped more if that airfare were used to hire local construction workers instead.

    Around here we have a lot religious mission tourism. People who go have a positive experience, but I don’t see it as getting much bang for the buck for others.

    Keith: I am considering whether or not to finance my nephew. He’s 25 and a genuine hippie; it would be right up his alley.

  8. avatar
    Keith September 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The local economy would be helped more if that airfare were used to hire local construction workers instead.

    I would agree, however, the official corruption of government officials is so high, that it is quite possibly more effective that way. The houses actually get built, where they are supposed to be built.